to play football, not to play trumpet
That felt all too familiar.
For the second straight game, Michigan got run off their home court in a contest far uglier than even the lopsided final score would indicate. Within ten seconds of the opening tipoff, MSU guard Bryn Forbes drilled a three-pointer. He'd sink seven more before taking a seat; taking an early seat due to the blowout was the only thing preventing him from tying and likely breaking the Crisler single-game record of nine made three-pointers.
With Denzel Valentine and Eron Harris chipping in, State sunk ten of their 14 first-half 3PA; Michigan couldn't stick with shooters whether in man or zone, allowing MSU to pick them apart with impressive passing. The Wolverines simply had no answer on the other end, making 4/16 first-half 3PA—3/6 for Derrick Walton, 1/10 for everyone else—and tallying only four assists to MSU's 11 in the opening stanza.
Matters didn't improve in the second half. Apparently tired of lighting Michigan up from the outside, MSU's first four second-half buckets came in the paint, including a demoralizing steal-and-slam by Matt Costello, who also embarrassed Mark Donnal with a subsequent spin move and reverse dunk on a post-up. The Spartans lead ballooned to as many as 30 points with 2:48 to play, at which point they were on pace for the best single-game eFG% mark of any team in the country this season; only a solid showing by Michigan's garbage-time unit made the score look half-respectable, and a series of missed shots by benchwarmers brought MSU's eFG% down to a mere 78.0%.
For the second straight game, Michigan displayed little ability to get anything going towards the basket, and they couldn't free up shooters as a result; Duncan Robinson finished with two points and missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. Zak Irvin did his best to keep Michigan within reach, scoring 19 on 16 shots, but he didn't get close to enough help from the supporting cast on either end. Aubrey Dawkins chipped in 14 points, but 12 of those came in the second half after the game was well in hand.
Michigan gets a badly needed chance to regroup Wednesday at Minnesota, which is still winless in the Big Ten, and they'll need to figure out what's wrong in a hurry; a rough final seven-game stretch starts next Saturday when the Wolverines host Purdue.
Just another day in the life.
— angelique (@chengelis) February 5, 2016
Hackett on WTKA. Jim Hackett stopped by The Michigan Insider today for a 30-minute long interview that wandered through a bunch of news. He of course kicked things off by sounding like your kindly grandfather trying to relate to 13-year-olds in board shorts:
Hackett anticipates ‘cool surprises’ for UM schedule
In other news things:
- Hackett does not think that the MSU flip is fixable.
- The Big Ten is going to go to more of an SEC model with conference scheduling after the move to nine games: "…because of the nine-game Big Ten season, we’re going to have to have an early Big Ten game as the season opens."
- All games going forward will be sold by the Big Ten Network, so Michigan's ability to schedule Notre Dame is further compromised. So that sucks. On the other hand, no more Jerryworld. I might take that tradeoff.
- Despite that both head coaches in the M-ND rivalry want to see it return, and people are working towards making it happen in some capacity. This is the first public confirmation that the series might return.
- Michigan will be forced to play more night games from 2017 onward.
SOTS on the tubes. In case you missed it:
Signing of the Haters. A lot of Michigan State folk have spent the last couple days talking about something that doesn't have a damn thing to do with them. Par for the course, but once they start yelling about how "Signing of the Stars" was some sort of unethical boondoggle designed for hype and recruiting I have various fuses in my head blow and can only reset them by typing this on the internet.
1. Yes, it was designed to put Michigan in the news. It worked so spectacularly that UCF is complaining about it. It will hopefully boost Michigan's recruiting going forward.
2. It also raised 120k for pediatric cancer research. I shouldn't have to even bring this up because having a goofy variety show where you introduce recruits does not need to be justified. The correct answer to "Michigan had a Signing Day event" is "so what?", not "but it was for cancer." Michigan could have raised zero dollars and there would be no valid complaints outside of corniness.
3. But they did raise some money for cancer.
5. Michigan State fans just can't stand a coach who yells at referees like a maniac and does everything he can for media attention. If they had such a coach they'd tar and feather him and shoot him into the sun.
Or maybe they wouldn't.
This is virtually identical to Alabama lizard people moaning about Michigan's satellite camps, attempting to cloak pure self-interest in concern trolling.
Hello, IMG, we are to be in your base. Rumors that Michigan was going to go outside of the box for spring practice have come to fruition:
Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday that the program will spend its first week of spring practice at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida during Michigan's spring break week -- which begins later this month (Feb. 27).
"Our plans for spring football are to go to Florida our first week while the university here is on spring break," Harbaugh said. "We'll go to Florida and have four practices down there. We're going to work hard but we'll have fun doing it."
IMG will be familiar to Michigan fans as the home of TE Isaac Nauta in the previous cycle. This time around they've got…
"Why would Jim Harbaugh want to hold spring practice at IMG Academy in Florida?"
*Pulls up 2017 rankings*
— Scott Bell (@sbell021) February 3, 2016
…a few guys.
This is going to be fun. Ian Boyd on Rashan Gary:
The numbers on Gary are jaw-dropping, no matter how inflated high schooler measurables can be. In a partially laser-timed SPARQ test before his junior year, he produced the following results, blowing away all other 2016 stars tested at the national event.
Height Weight 40 time Shuttle time Vertical leap Rashan Gary as a high school junior 6'4" 287 4.74 4.38 32.1" Average 2015 NFL Combine defensive lineman 6'3 1/2" 286 4.96 4.5 32.2"
Boyd believes Gary can play as an end and will bounce across the defensive line throughout his career but his highest upside in the future is as a defensive tackle, where his pass rush ability should maintain more of its value as he moves up to college and eventually the NFL.
Assuming that Michigan slides Matt Godin out to the SDE spot he was effective in early last year and starts Taco Charlton at WDE, Michigan's biggest need on the DL in 2016 is indeed three-tech, where Willie Henry's absence leaves Michigan with (probably) Mo Hurst and Brady Pallante backing up.
Harbaugh media tour. Michigan appears to have sent Jim Harbaugh on a tour of every radio show in the country. They're conveniently located in one place—wherever the Super Bowl is—this time of year, and Michigan's taking the opportunity to have Harbaugh around, seeming (largely) sane and repeating that he has no intention of exiting Ann Arbor any time soon:
On future NFL opportunities: "This is where I want to be. I'm having the time of my life." Mentions 2015 most fun year in football.
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) February 5, 2016
Coaching moves. After a one-year pitstop as an analyst at Michigan, Erik Campbell gets the WR coach job at UConn. With Partridge moving up and TJ Weist also getting a WR coach job, his with South Florida, Michigan has three open analyst/recruiter type spots if they maintain the same level of staffing as they did last year. One of those spots has been filled:
Prattville assistant Bam Richards (@cadillac98) tells me he is joining the Michigan Wolverines as an offensive analyst.
— Stephen Gunter (@Stephen_Gunter) February 4, 2016
Michigan has of course gotten to know the Prattville staff pretty well over the past couple years.
Flanagan's Devin Bush Sr. is widely expected to get the second opening. Who might fill the third is unknown, but it'll probably be someone who ends up at loose ends after the NFL season.
Etc.: Good to know, Jourdan Lewis. Trevor Siemian will throw-god in the Super Bowl. Jehu Chesson is still on crutches a month after the bowl game. Doubtful it'll be an issue that affects him in fall, could hold him out in spring. The Players' Tribune as new-world press releases.
Michigan (17-6, 7-3 B1G) vs
Michigan State (19-4, 6-4)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||2 pm ET, Saturday|
|LINE||MSU -2 (KenPom)|
PBP: Carter Blackburn
Analyst: Clark Kellogg
Right: Izzoface. [Fuller]
John Beilein still won't get into specifics about the availability of Caris LeVert. Today he said LeVert was able to do more in practice yesterday and "we'll see what happens."
LeVert himself has apparently told a few people that he expects to be back on the floor tomorrow. The expectation is he'd come off the bench in his first game back before working his way to his old role.
So, um, we'll see what happens. As Beilein has said repeatedly, we won't know LeVert's final status until we see him (or don't) in warmups.
Aside from rivalry pride? A win would be a huge boost for Michigan's tournament resume; most recent bracket projections have M in the eight- to ten-seed range. The Wolverines need at least three more wins over a tough final eight games of the Big Ten slate to feel comfortable with their tourney chances, and while KenPom projects them to reach 11-7—getting four wins down the stretch—he only has them as outright favorites in two of those games. (Two others, vs. Purdue and at OSU, are essentially coin-flips.)
While it's very unlikely Michigan catches Iowa and Indiana atop the conference standings, a victory would be critical for Big Ten Tournament seeding; a win would get M two games clear of MSU with the head-to-head tiebreaker in their only matchup. The Wolverines could find themselves alone in fourth place with a win and a Purdue loss at Maryland on Saturday.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||14||Eron Harris||Jr.||6'3, 185||50||25||No|
|40% three-point shooter also gets to FT line frequently.|
|G||5||Bryn Forbes||Sr.||6'3, 190||66||19||No|
|One of the best pure three-point gunners in the country.|
|G||45||Denzel Valentine||Sr.||6'5, 220||65||28||No|
|4th in KPOY. Consistent triple-double threat. 50/43/83 shooting splits.|
|F||23||Deyonta Davis||Fr.||6'10, 240||45||19||Very|
|1st in B1G in block rate, 4th in 2P%, 19th in OR%, 5th in DR%. Kid's good.|
|F||10||Matt Costello||Sr.||6'9, 245||55||22||Very|
|Good finisher and shot-blocker, elite rebounder, fouls under control.|
|G||20||Matt McQuaid||Fr.||6'5, 190||41||14||No|
|Low-usage, mostly a spot-up shooter, hits 42% of his threes.|
|F||2||Javon Bess||So.||6'5, 220||33||17||Yes|
|Inefficient scorer, but gets to line and does decent work on the glass.|
|F||25||Kenny Goins||Fr.||6'6, 225||23||13||Very|
|Minuscule usage in B1G play, minutes vary wildly depending on opponent.|
Point guard LouRawls "Tum Tum" Nairn is "doubtful at best" with a foot injury.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
1 hour 48 minutes
OTHER THAN GARY starring Denard Robinson and Jake Rudock, 8:30, NBC
A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out 100years.moe for the rich history of Michigan's oldest apparel store.
All superlatives on this podcast are "Other than Rashan Gary" and many are also "Other than Khaleke Hudson." Brandon Peters is good; the wide receivers are diverse and plentiful; tight ends out the wazoo; tackle the main downer.
Starts at 37:18
Some guy named Rashan Gary. Suddenly a ton of linebackers. A couple of key pieces at corner. Safety a concern.
Ann Arbor Minute and Gimmicky Top Five
Starts at 1:07:56
Gimmicky Top Five is just "favorite recruits in the class" (other than Gary and Hudson). You can tell that this is a good class because Ace and I have almost entirely different lists.
Across the Crooked Blue Line w/ Steve Lorenz
Starts at 1:22:00
Having just run down the class in some detail we ask Steve for an overview of Michigan's PWO class, which is a dozen strong and possesses a number of players who could break through to be the next Kovacs, Glasgow, or Glasgow. We also ask him about the best recruiting story of the year and put him through the TERRIFYING LIGHTNING ROUND.
"Across 110th Street"
"Still Alive" by Jonathan Coulton
"We Were Sad But Now We're Rebuilding" by Bear vs. Shark
"Roc Boys(And The Winner Is)" by Jay-Z
THE USUAL LINKS
On the roundtable this week:
- More crootin
- Sam tries to change the subject to the Indiana game
- I respond by talking about Khaleke Hudson
- Yeah that's how I do
THE USUAL LINKS
We projejct that Michigan loses one additional grad transfer, leaving Michigan with 18 seniors and 18 spots to start 2017 with. A normal rate of attrition should see them get to a class around 25. Michigan can backdate three or four early enrollees depending on what happens with Dytarious Johnson, giving them a maximum class size next year of 28 or 29.
Dylan McCaffrey isn't as fast as Christian but we'll look past that
The Roster. Michigan isn't scheduled to lose anyone but with a roster that goes six deep at the moment it's likely a couple guys in back decide to look for greener pastures. Michigan will take one, because only a lunatic skips QB recruiting, and may grab a second if he's a Viramontes/Gentry type with upside at multiple positions.
The Recruits. Michigan has been focused on CO QB Dylan McCaffrey (yes that McCaffrey) for months now. They are in excellent shape with a guy who says he will commit by spring. A Stanford offer is the main way this gets derailed. The Cardinal is focused on GA QB Davis Mills, another Michigan target.
The Projection. Michigan gets McCaffrey and calls it a day.
Stritzinger is a two way athlete
The Roster. Drake Johnson and De'Veon Smith graduate, leaving four true tailbacks and Wyatt Shallman. If Ty Isaac doesn't emerge into a contributor he may take a grad transfer; despite two backs in the previous class tailback is a priority.
The Recruits. GA RB Kurt Taylor committed in November. In-stater Allen Stritzinger is the most likely tailback to join the class. Stritzinger is guy on the fringe of four stars who could also be a defensive back.
Past Stritzinger Michigan will swing for the fences. CA RB Najee Harris is a soft Alabama commit who will give Michigan a look. PA RB D'Andre Swift is someone Michigan will go after, but he's a 5'9" guy who may not see Michigan as the best fit. He's also from Philly, which has not been kind to Michigan recruiting over the years. MD RB Anthony McFarland is another scatback type who's well-regarded early. Michigan is currently on the periphery of his recruitment.
Michigan also has an offer out to NJ RB Bo Melton, a teammate of Ahmir Mitchell.
The Prediction. Michigan gets and keeps Stritzinger as an ATH and keeps looking. Harris is probably their best bet for a blue-chip despite the Bama commit; it's likely that one or two additional guys who end up in the class are not mentioned in this post. Taylor is a guy who may end up elsewhere. Or maybe not.
Peoples-Jones is Cass Tech's highest-touted prospect ever
The Need. Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh both graduate, as does reserve DaMario Jones. Jaron Dukes looks unlikely to be back for a fifth year. That leaves Ways, Harris, and Perry plus 4-5 of the 6(!) WR types in 2016. (The others are likely ticketed for the secondary.)
Michigan will try to keep the numbers up by adding approximately three. They do not need to reach and can swing for the fences.
The Recruits. GA WR Jeremiah Holloman is already committed. He's a three star early in the process but just impressed at a camp and may move up into four-star range. Michigan wants him to impress, but not so much that Georgia gets involved.
Cass Tech's Donovan Peoples-Jones is a top ten national recruit and probably the highest priority for Michigan's staff in 2017 outside of OTs. OLSM's KJ Hamler is a dynamic 5'9" dude who really wants to go to Oregon right now. The rest of the board is extremely murky, with few top targets listing Michigan guy. They are after CA WR Joseph Lewis, an LA kid currently pegged for USC. CT WR Tarik Black is in an area of the country Michigan's done reasonably well in, but Michigan is trailing a bunch of schools.
The Projection. No idea. 50/50 that Holloman gets sufficient SEC interest to remove him from Michigan's equation. Peoples-Jones is reportedly coming around on Michigan as a potential power but Florida is consistently mentioned as a problem.
The Need. Michigan can go relatively easy here after signing three in 2016. They'll take at least one—they in fact have already done so. After that they can hold out for a top tier prospect, of which there don't seem to be a ton of in 2017.
The Recruits. In-state three-star legacy Carter Dunaway is already committed. Dunaway is a lot like Sean McKeon: a big frame that needs a lot of development. CA TE Jimmy Jaggers took an unofficial last fall, his second trip to campus. After Jaggers there's not much on the board; three of Michigan's top targets are already committed elsewhere, two to Notre Dame and one to Stanford.
The Projection. Michigan gets Jaggers to go with Dunaway.
Isaiah Wilson is a large man
The Need. Tackle is without question the #1 priority in the 2017 class. Michigan did not take a true tackle in 2016 and burned Grant Newsome's redshirt last year, leaving Nolan Ulizio the only tackle on the roster with freshman eligibility. Ben Bredeson could pop outside if necessary (and it will probably be necessary); he is a natural guard.
Michigan will also be on the lookout for a couple of interior linemen, with center a priority after Michigan did not get one in 2016.
The Recruits. Michigan has a commit from in-state four star JaRaymond Hall. More dudes are needed; fortunately, Michigan is well-positioned for a ton of high-end prospects. There are so many that we should grab us some bullets:
- 5* NY OT Isaiah Wilson has declared Michigan his leader repeatedly, most recently a few weeks ago. He said Michigan was a "big leader" while talking to a Florida site; that's a great sing. While Lorenz cautions that his recruitment is not likely to be a cut-and-dried thing over by March, Michigan is a solid favorite.
- FL OT Tedarrell Slaton also named Michigan his leader a few months back. Teammate Kai-Leon Herbert also has an offer; the pair is trying to visit over the spring. Even if they can't pull that off a dollar says they take in Michigan while they practice at IMG.
- CA OT Wyatt Davis will be a national recruit; Michigan is in an amorphous top group.
- NJ OT Micah Clark has Michigan in a top 15; he says OSU leads. OSU already has a couple of high-profile tackles committed.
- FL OC Cesar Ruiz is at IMG; before that he was at Camden with Brad Hawkins and Ron Johnson. Michigan is in an early top three that figures to expand before narrowing down again.
- TX OT Austin Deculus has a Michigan offer and some interest; he'll be a tough pull away from LSU even if Michigan currently sits in his top 3.
- WI OT Tyler Beach has a tentative top two of Michigan and Wisconsin; he's originally from Colorado and thus not as locked in to the Badgers as a lot of in-state OL are.
- GA OT Netori "Fifth Element" Johnson just decommitted from Alabama. Michigan grabbed Elysee Mbem-Bosse out of his school last year and he's interested in M.
Michigan will take four or five guys this cycle and I wouldn't be surprised if three of them were tackles.
The Projection. Hall sticks, Michigan gets Wilson and Ruiz and maybe Slaton. They add a fifth guy who is 30/70 to have been mentioned.